Verbatim Transcription of Research Interviews and Focus Group Discussion

According to Poland 1995, verbatim transcription refers to the replication of the exact words that are captured in an audio or video record. This is the reproduction of word to word audio data into written form. Thus, the verbatim contents retain the original meaning of the recorded interviews or focus group discussion. The materials generated seek also to provide the context in which the words were spoken. The decision to make use of the verbatim transcription depends on the reasons for carrying out the research and collecting the qualitative data. When doing the verbatim interview transcription one needs to pay attention to the research methodology design and the theoretical frame work of the research. This is a reliable mode of transcription as it does not give room to interpretation of the spoken word. It also gives details of non verbal cues used during the interview. In order to give a word to word transcription of the recorded work, here are few things to pay attention to.

Involuntary Vocalizations

When carrying out the verbatim transcription of research interview or focus group discussion it is vital to pay attention to involuntary vocalizations. These are sounds might have meaning or not to the one analyzing the data hence they need to be captured. These sounds include sneezing, coughing, yawning, laughing or crying among others. In addition, there are other noises that come from the background such as dog barking, siren and ringing phone are also vital.

Response token

Response tokens are commonly known as probes and prompts. These are sounds that are used by the researcher to prompt the interviewee to continue with the sharing or to say more. They are also used to show empathy when researching on delicate issues that affect the interviewee emotionally. They include hm, yeah, uh, mmh and ok among others. It is important to include them in the transcription as it reveals the nature of conversation during the interview or discussion.

Non-verbal cues

During the interview and focus group discussion a lot of non verbal cues are used. This form of communication talks more than the verbal words and hence they need to be captured for analysis. This is more practical when verbatim transcription of the video as they are revealed through the movement of the hands and facial expressions. In most cases these non-verbal cues have feelings attached to it that are important in analysis of the data collected.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

Defining the Intelligent Verbatim Transcription Process

Intelligent verbatim transcription can be defined as the process of converting any type of recorded speech into text format and cutting out any redundant phrases and words.

Not everyone is able to speak in coherent and logical sentences that have a clear begging, middle and end. You will notice that there are lots of gaps that are left out when you listen to people having a conversation especially if a person’s train of thought takes them somewhere else. One word can also be repeated a number of times as a person seek to find the best way to express themselves. Another example of a pause for thought is usually represented by some filler expressions like you know, sort of, kind of etc.

There are times when it is vital to capture everything that a person says including the pauses, fillers, repeats and the ‘ers’ and ‘ums’. This is what is referred to as verbatim transcription that is mostly required when studying all the details that happened in a certain situation or in legal context like transcribing the recordings of the words that were spoken by a pilot right before the plane crashed.

You will notice that most of the transcription however is focused on capturing the meaning of what was said not necessarily how it was said exactly in a process that is called Intelligent verbatim transcription. When you are converting interview or speech into text one of the most important priorities is to capture the words that have being spoken not capturing all the words that have been used.

Intelligent verbatim transcription permits, repeats, filler words and other irrelevant material to be cut out.

Flavor of the speech is however not messed up with as the changes in direction and sentences that are half complete are usually included. It is the work of the transcriber to avoid making grammatical corrections as well as making small deletions and additions that they think will improve the entire project. The professionals are supposed to remain objective and only get rid of the material that is irrelevant and clearly surplus.

Intelligent verbatim transcription usually costs less that the traditional type of transcription as it is usually less detailed. It also does not take up a lot of time when it comes to transcription. This allows a person to save both time and money that can be used for other important duties. Always make sure that you best the best person for the transcription job to get a great end product.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.